After twelve months of brainstorming, boot camps, planning, and collaboration on ways to transform primary care, six teams met to present their ideas to investors at the Microsoft NERD Center, part of Primary Care Pitch Night. The event was sponsored by the HMS Center for Primary Care’s InciteHealth program, a part-time program that provides support for one year as innovators delve into the challenges of primary care. Panel members heard ideas that addressed issues such as patient-doctor communication, management of complex conditions, and healthcare costs. In the end, one team was awarded the $25,000 prize and effectively given the green light to advance their idea for a digital engagement platform through which patients can schedule preventive services like screening tests, access educational materials, and monitor progress.
Such advances are crucial to the future of primary care, said Sachin Jain ’06, chief medical officer of CareMore Health System, and the event’s keynote speaker. “We’ve got real problems in the health care space, which can be solved only if we’re willing to talk about them.” Jain added that the event “brought together the innovative minds of our generation and a traditional institution like Harvard Medical School.”
The pitches, delivered in just seven minutes with three minutes of follow-up questions, offered new solutions to common primary care challenges. One team developed a patient-centric secure messaging portal; another, a health analytics tool aimed at lowering health care costs associated with type1 diabetes. A team led by Stephanie Taylor ’84 introduced a shared decisionmaking platform, while two other teams described an online marketplace for primary care data and analysis services and a mobile platform aimed at chronically ill teens.
The members of the winning team plan to use their prize to get a pilot of their digital patient engagement program off the ground later this year.